Here's the beauty, and the torn A-arm.
I answer the phone. It’s the 1965 Ford Falcon owner from last month. Arghhh!
“Hi, remember me?” He asks.
“Yes, Sir, may I help you,” my jaw is winding to full torque.
“My Falcon’s nice and quiet since you did the exhaust manifolds,” he tells me. “I have another problem now.”
Yea, you own a broken down 1965 Falcon you refuse to get rid of, I’m thinking. I keep my mouth shut instead.
“I was going along the road, and I hit one of those potholes the city won’t fix…”
“…and the driver’s side wheel just collapsed. My friend came over, and we managed to get it over to the side of the road with a jack. He says there’s something wrong in the upper ball joint area. Can I have it towed over?”
“Have it towed over, and I’ll see what it needs,” I say instead. “It doesn’t sound too good. I’m hoping it’s just the ball joint I told you needed replaced, and you haven’t done any further damage.”
“Oh, do you think it will be expensive?”
“Since parts are nearly non-existent for your Falcon, I would have to say yes. If it’s only a broken ball joint, I can get those. If it’s the upper A-arm, it will be a lot more difficult.”
“I’ll get it towed right over,” he promises.
“I’ll be here.”
The Falcon arrives on a flatbed tow truck, and it takes a jack just to get the Falcon off the tow truck. The fatigued metal has given out, and torn free of the solid metal upper A-arm. This means it needs a new A-arm, ball joint, coil spring saddle, shock absorber (which is shot), upper control arm and bushings. This means Mr. Falcon will again be in residence for the foreseeable future awaiting parts. An intensive search of the Internet proves productive, and I find everything I’ll need. Unfortunately, I won’t be getting any of the parts until the end of this week. I call the customer with the bad news to get his okay.
“How could this happen?” He gasps in dismay.
How could it not happen is a more logical question.
“Metal fatigue,” I reply instead. “The solid metal A-arm tore apart in the ball joint area. You’re lucky you weren’t going down the freeway.”
“It’s those potholes the city won’t fix,” he laments.
“It’s the forty-two year old rolling coffin you drive, Sir. While potholes are a bad thing, they won’t cause a solid metal frame piece to tear apart.”
“Can I get it back before the 6th?”
Only in my dreams.
“No, I’ll have to call you with an update when the parts actually arrive.”
“I hope it doesn’t take as long as the manifolds,” he sighs.
That makes two of us, I think, adding a prayer. :)